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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019 Mar 13;11(10):10074-10088. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b19820. Epub 2019 Mar 4.

Role of Stabilizing Surfactants on Capacitance, Charge, and Ion Transport in Organic Nanoparticle-Based Electronic Devices.

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Centre for Organic Electronics , University of Newcastle , Callaghan , New South Wales 2308 , Australia.
Department of Physics , Bu-Ali Sina University , Hamedan 6516738695 , Iran.
Department of Physics, College of Education for Pure Sciences , University of Basrah , Basrah 61002 , Iraq.
CSIRO Energy , Newcastle , New South Wales 2300 , Australia.


Deposition of functionalized nanoparticles onto solid surfaces has created a new revolution in electronic devices. Surface adsorbates such as ionic surfactants or additives are often used to stabilize such nanoparticle suspensions; however, little is presently known about the influence of such surfactants and additives on specific electronic and chemical functionality of nanoparticulate electronic devices. This work combines experimental measurements and theoretical models to probe the role of an ionic surfactant in the fundamental physical chemistry and electronic charge carrier behavior of photodiode devices prepared using multicomponent organic electronic nanoparticles. A large capacitance was detected, which could be subsequently manipulated using the external stimuli of light, temperature, and electric fields. It was demonstrated that analyzing this capacitance through the framework of classical semiconductor analysis produced substantially misleading information on the electronic trap density of the nanoparticles. Electrochemical impedance measurements demonstrated that it is actually the stabilizing surfactant that creates capacitance through two distinct mechanisms, each of which influenced charge carrier behavior differently. The first mechanism involved a dipole layer created at the contact interfaces by mobile ions, a mechanism that could be replicated by addition of ions to solution-cast devices and was shown to be the major origin of restricted electronic performance. The second mechanism consisted of immobile ionic shells around individual nanoparticles and was shown to have a minor impact on device performance as it could be removed upon addition of electronic charge in the photodiodes through either illumination or external bias. The results confirmed that the surfactant ions do not create a significantly increased level of charge carrier traps as has been previously suspected, but rather, preventing the diffusion of mobile ions through the nanoparticulate film and their accumulation at contacts is critical to optimize the performance.


capacitance; charge transport; nanoparticle; organic electronic; photodiode; surfactant


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